Red tape and bureaucracy
by Terry McQuitty
Just more red tape and bureaucracy. That was the consensus at a round table discussion held at the Kawartha Lakes Construction Company in Lakefield on Tuesday afternoon.
Garfield Dunlop, MPP (Simcoe North) and PC Critic for Skilled Trades was the guest of honour and the topic on the table was the implementation of the Ontario College of Trades (OCT) and the effect it will have on the construction industry.
The OCT was implemented by the provincial Liberal government as an independent, industry-driven body with an eye on raising the profile of, and promoting involvement in skilled trades.
The goal is to make the system of apprenticeship training more responsive to the evolving skills and training needs of Ontario employers and consumers.
Dunlop argues that the OCT has no education or training component and will simply charge employees and employers $120 per journeyman and $60 per apprentice to build a database.
Dunlop stated that the Ontario College of Trades is a payback to the unions, specifically the Working Families Coalition for spending millions of dollars in third party advertising for the Liberals during the last election.
Presently there are 22 compulsory trades that are overseen by OTC which requires each person to have a certificate of qualification.
Dunlop fears that these trades are just the beginning and eventually all trades on the work site will require the certificate. This might include carpenters and drywallers as an example.
Dunlop believes that if everyone requires a certificate the costs will increase for the builders and the end results will not improve. The only winners will be the trades unions.
Dunlop said that the money raised through the certificates will most likely be used for advertising campaigns that will promote union shops. This could eventually eliminate the handyman and will certainly increase the underground economy in the building sector.
Dunlop also addressed the ratio of three journeymen to one apprentice that is mandated through the OCT. Dunlop said his party would like the ratio lowered to one to one.
Dunlop stated that it is difficult for young people to enter the trades and lowering the ratio will make career access easier.
Dunlop suggested that anyone concerned with the College of Trades should write their MPP regardless of their party and let them know the negative effect the implementation will have on the building industry.
He directed those in attendance to a website, www.stopthetradestax.ca for further information on the topic.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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